After her uncle died in 2014, Darnisha DeSilva became the glue for her family, knowing that her uncle would want the family to stay close.
“She was always putting family first,” Ashley DeSilva said of her 22-year-old cousin, Darnisha DeSilva who was fatally shot Tuesday (Oct. 9) inside her Little Woods house along with her 23-year-old fiance.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Ashley DeSilva said of the double homicide that left her cousin’s three young children without parents.
Darnisha DeSilva was inside her home around 1:10 p.m. when Kenneth Augustine, 28, shot her husband, Greg Heisser III, in the chest near the doorway of the home, the New Orleans Police Department said. Darnisha DeSilva ran toward the back of the house but was followed and also mortally wounded by Augustine, police said.
Police found Heisser dead at the scene. Darnisha DeSilva was taken to a hospital where she was also pronounced dead, according to New Orleans police.
Augustine was booked overnight with two counts of second-degree murder after he turned himself in hours after the shooting, police reported.
Police have not said what caused the argument, but Ashley DeSilva said Augustine is the ex-boyfriend of Darnisha DeSilva’s sister and had come to the house looking for keys to a car that belonged to the sister. After Heisser refused to hand the keys over, as Darnisha DeSilva’s sister wasn’t home at the time, Augustine became angry and killed the couple, Ashley DeSilva said.
Heisser was holding his young daughter when Augustine shot him, Ashley DeSilva said. Another one of his children was nearby, she said, adding that a relative later had to clean the blood off the children.
Ashley DeSilva remembered her cousin, who was also her godsister, as someone who “loved to party” and “always with a smile on her face.” She was a mother, raising two young boys and a girl, who was “overprotective of her family,” often devoting time for “family days” when she wasn’t working.
Darnisha DeSilva was working full time at Walmart, her cousin said, and planned to go to college in January.
Ashley and Darnisha DeSilva grew up together, their families living next door to each other in Uptown, Ashley DeSilva said. She remembered going to school together, taking walks in the park and “sharing boy problems.”
“She always gave me the best advice,” Ashley DeSilva said.
Ashley DeSilva was in Baton Rouge for school when Darnisha DeSilva’s sister initially told her that Darnisha had been shot. Being apart from her cousin and her family was tough, she said, especially after spending so much time with her growing up.
As word spread at the scene Tuesday that Darnisha DeSilva had died, sobs broke out from people inside and outside of the crime tape.
“They shot my daughter,” yelled a woman at the scene who sat inside the yellow crime tape in a chair on the home’s lawn. “My baby gone,” she yelled, sobbing.
“I just want to hold my nanny,” Ashley DeSilva said about her aunt, Darnisha’s mother. “But I can’t because I’m so far away.”